Where to buy Second Hand in France


When I was reading the posts on my Going Green linky over on my other blog, A Green and Rosie Life, one got me thinking about shopping in France, and specifically shopping for second hand items  Thank you Ness from JibberJabberUK, you are the inspiration for this post!


Buying Second Hand in France


The French Equivalent of a Boot Fair, Yard Sale or Trash and Treasure


Almost every larger village or town will have some sort of second hand event at some point in the year and often more than one.  Most are open air although some out of season ones do take place inside.  The public can hire a specific size of pitch for a small fee (sometimes even free) and sell all their unwanted goods.  And to keep you on your toes they go by an amazing variety of names:

Vide Greniers - this means to empty the loft and is the French for Boot Fair.  They are very popular throughout France and you can pick up all sorts of things, even pets.

Brocantes - also used for a boot fair but often more specifically for vintage items and older furniture.  You may also see permanent brocantes as shops or reclaim yards.

Foires,  braderies or foire aux puces (flea markets) - these tend to have a specific theme so you may have a foire aux vêtements (clothes sale) or foire aux puericulture (baby goods) etc.

Several different books go on sale early in the year, providing details for all the local ones, the "Orange Book" being the most well known > Calendrier des Brocantes et Vide Greniers which can also be searched online.



On the high street


Charity shops are nowhere near as common in France as in the UK.  I have seen a Red Cross shop in Caen and in our local town of Condé-sur-Noireau there are two charity shops (Aux Fringues and Second R) both giving their profits to help the homeless.  Bigger towns may also have an Emmaüs shop or a La Friperie which both sell a wide range of second hand goods.  But do not expect to see them all along every high street.

From time to time some charities also take over empty premises for a few days and run short term pop up charity shops.

Dépôt-ventes are highly regulated establishments where the public can take their goods to be sold (often white goods and furniture).  Once sold the dépôt-vente keeps a percentage of the money paid, the remainder going to the vendor.  Anyone buying from a dépôt-vente can return goods within a week if they are found to be faulty.




As well as internationally known sites such as Ebay, the French have a few of their own sites:

Anglo-Info is an English speaking site with regional sub-sites.  All have buy and sell sections but you cannot sell animals or agricultural goods on them.

LeBonCoin is a French buy and sell site without the limitations of Anglo-Info but it is only in French.

Facebook Groups - these have sprung up in large numbers recently and most areas of France will have local ones for both French and English speakers.

 So there you have it - a complete guide to where you can buy second hand in France.  You can pick up some really good used things at any of the above mentioned places and in keeping with our eco ethos, a lot of the things in the gite are quality second hand goods.

Do you enjoy second hand shopping in France and have I missed any other second hand outlets off this post?




Comment by Cheryl Pasquier

Brocantes (boot sales) are hugely popular in the North of France and if you go to the local tourist office, you can buy a print out (for €1) for the whole season to know where to go each week - the country ones are lovely as you can make it a day out exploring the surrounding area, and they often have pony rides/BBQ etc. They're a full day event, unlike the UK ones which generally finish at lunchtime. https://vide-greniers.org give you a list online but I don't know how complete it is

Comment by Kids of the Wild

Interesting that there are so few high street charity shops in France. I wonder why? Or maybe we are a bit OTT about it over here?!